The Nameless Detective Agency must cope with a clutch of monsters, all members of the gentler sex.
From the moment David Virden sets an outrageously expensive shoe in the agency’s barebones office, Nameless takes against him. The man is too sleek, too carefully put together. Still, the gig seems straightforward enough once a certain amount of veneer is stripped away. Virden wants an ex-wife found. That’s the straightforward part. No problem. Harness Tamara, Nameless’ black, beautiful and extremely brainy colleague, to her agile computer, and they’re halfway to a final tally of billable hours. The offbeat part has to do with the reason Virden wants his ex tracked down dead or alive. It’s central to his current and shamelessly shady matrimonial venture, involving the very well-heeled, very Catholic Judith Lopresti. But that’s his business, Nameless decides, while preparing to pursue the agency’s. Nameless finds Roxanne McManus as easily as he thought he would and almost immediately wishes he hadn’t. She and Jane Carson, her partner in vicious crime, are Messalina and Lucrezia Borgia for our time. Meanwhile, Jake Runyon, the agency’s crack field investigator, has also taken a case involving one of San Francisco’s loathsome ladies. What makes his case different is that it’s personal. What makes it a match is the woman’s unregenerate wickedness.
Can doing first-rate work as consistently as Pronzini (Betrayers, 2010, etc.) really be as effortless as he makes it seem?